Microsoft's Kinect technology is being modified to help doctors take better X-rays

Microsoft's Kinect technology is being modified to help doctors take better X-rays

Surprisingly, this isn't a high-tech, pricey piece of machinery. Setting appropriate X-ray techniques to minimize radiation exposure depends on the thickness of the body part being imaged.

Movement can also impede the accuracy of an X-ray, creating blurry images, which then requires technicians to take more images, exposing the patient to more radiation. Kinect, a motion-sensor gaming accessory that allowed users to control characters and gameplay with their gestures, sold over 10 million units and became the "centerpiece of Microsoft's Xbox One console, "according to Bloomberg". This technology leverages the Kinect's camera technology, with developed software to measure the thickness of the body parts and detect movement, prior to the image being taken.

If something is going to compromise image quality, real-time alerts can be sent to the techs.

Since children are very sensitive to radiation and have different body sizes, the technology is meant to reduce the amount of time an X-ray would take, in effect, reducing the amount of radiation exposure.

"This device can help technologists and radiologists achieve the radiation dose goal: "as low as reasonably achievable", said Don.

Traditionally steel calipers have been used to measure body-part thickness for X-rays. 

Don explained that using the Microsoft Kinect sensor can help address issues that regularly affect the imaging results while helping potentially keeping pediatric patients more calm and relaxed. Don said his team will be using this funding to continue their research and improve upon the technology.

The team has carried out a feasibility study and is now turning its attention to further development, saying the ultimate objective is to equip new X-ray machines with the system, along with retrofitting older machines.

"Patients, technologists and radiologists want the best quality X-rays at the lowest dose possible without repeating images", Don said.

The Xbox technology may help doctors produce high-quality X-rays with minimal radiation exposure.

Washington University School of Medicine's 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals.